domingo, 18 de octubre de 2020

Finding Relief for Sciatica - Harvard Health

Finding Relief for Sciatica - Harvard Health


Harvard Medical School

5 tips for coping with sciatica

Sciatica is one of the most common, yet misunderstood, types of pain. As many as 40% of people will get it during their life, and it becomes more frequent as you age. Sciatica tends to get lumped in with regular back pain, but it is different. The pain originates with the sciatic nerves and often goes away by itself within a few hours or days. However, some attacks can come and go for several weeks or even months. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to prevent sciatica, as well as relieve the pain.
Get your copy of Finding Relief for Sciatica
Finding Relief for Sciatica
In this guide, we will explore sciatica—its causes, risk factors, and treatments. We’ll discuss who is at higher risk for sciatica and how it can be mistaken for other types of nerve pain. We’ll explore at-home care that can help people with sciatica find relief and discuss when it’s advisable to see a doctor. We’ll also discuss medical treatments, such as injections and surgery, that help some people. Finally, we’ll explain ways to prevent sciatica or at least lower your chances of experiencing it.

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Increase exercise

Exercise is a key way to prevent or help relieve sciatica. Consider these types:
  • Aerobic exercise: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, and other activities that increase your heart rate without causing more pain if you already have sciatica.
  • Strength training: exercises using free weights or weight machines, or isometric exercises, which involve contracting muscles without obvious movement.
  • Flexibility training: yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and similar activities that increase both flexibility and strength.
Really, any exercise that you can enjoy and do regularly is going to help. So try something new, go back to an old favorite, or both.

Strengthen your core

It might not seem obvious that a stronger core could improve your spinal health. But your core is not just your abdominal muscles, even though they are key contributors to the stability of your spine. Muscles in the back, sides, pelvis, and buttocks also are part of your core. Strengthening all of these muscles helps to support your spine.
Many types of exercise, including yoga and Pilates, can strengthen the core muscles. For example, planks and bridges are movements that target the core. 

Avoid sitting for long periods

Prolonged periods of sitting put pressure on the discs and ligaments in the low back. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, take frequent breaks, or try a standing desk. Less sitting is better.

Manage your weight

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for sciatica. And people who have sciatica and are overweight tend to heal more slowly. Why? The increased weight puts pressure on your spine and can lead to herniated discs. Even minor weight loss will reduce inflammation and pressure on the spine.

Practice good posture

Mom was right—slouching isn't good for you. But you don't have to walk around the room with a book on your head to practice good posture. Follow these tips:
  • Pay attention to your body's position when you're standing or sitting.
  • To prevent slouching, pull your shoulders down and back. Imagine your shoulder blades touching.
  • If you work at a computer, take frequent breaks. Position your monitor so you can see it without bending your head down or tilting it back.
To learn more about ways to ease your sciatica pain, purchase Finding Relief for Sciatica from Harvard Health Publishing.

Image: © gilaxia | Getty Images
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Finding Relief for Sciatica

Featured content:

What is sciatica?
Causes of sciatica
Risk factors
Home remedies and self-care
When to see a doctor
Treatments prescribed by a doctor
Prevention and coping

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